Monday, February 16, 2009

Ending the Wars

I was just reading a good post over at the newly-rebranded Disaffected Lib about Obama's dilemma of being stuck in two unaffordable, unwinnable wars. As MoS points out, Americans have a low tolerance for defeat. In fact, if not played right a winless exit could be political suicide.

But here's a thought: change the name. The US isn't involved in two wars; it's involved in two invasions. Nobody ever really wins a military invasion: they occupy the country for a while and then leave it.

It's not going to be possible, at least in this generation, for Americans to admit that what they did was morally reprehensible and illegal. They were too supportive of the invasion, too angry at anyone who didn't support it with them (and that went far beyond France; I am still smarting from the way ordinary Americans treated Canadians during that period).

Obama doesn't have to call it an illegal invasion; all he has to do is say they invaded for a reason, but now those reasons are past, and it's time to pull out.

After that... there have to be war reparations. As I have been arguing for some time, a Truth & Reconciliation commission might be able to sort out what went wrong and how to ensure that the world's biggest military doesn't get misused this way again. On top of that, the US needs to spend decades paying back the Iraqis and Afghans for the damage the American military and occupying bureaucrats have done.

Will an American pull-out result in civil war, increased power of terrorist organizations, even state failures? I don't know... of course we have to figure out how to lessen the post-pullout negatives. But the negatives of continuing the invasion are so great that there is no longer any question that the main priority is for the Americans and their allies to GET OUT.


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